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De Valeria tries to follow in big hoofsteps
Thursday, February 06, 2014 - by Mark Ratzky, publicity, Cal Expo Harness

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Sacramento, CA --- De Valeria is cut out to be a nice filly, being a full sister to the accomplished Pacinello, and she’s beginning to realize that potential with back-to-back California Sire Stakes victories for owner Eugene Afentoulis and driver/trainer Luke Plano.

Pacinello was a real terror here at Cal Expo, dominating his peers before heading on to points East while making an occasional return visit. He has $347,000 in the bank and a 1:50.2 mark.

His sister De Valeria rode a second-over journey to capture the first big-money event at this meeting for the sophomore pacing fillies on Jan. 17, then did the track-and-pounce to perfection last week for Plano to prove a punctual favorite in the most recent stakes dance.

“Pacinello was a champion, but since that the mare has had all fillies and while they trained nicely, they’ve had issues between the ears that kept them from doing their best,” Plano related.

Luke’s dad Rick broke this filly in Florida and then trained her down in New York last season, getting a good foundation under the daughter of Little Steven before shipping her out to get ready for these stakes engagements.

“When we got her she still had a few issues, including being a little aggressive away from the gate, but she’s matured,” Plano explained. “She’s real nice to be around and a very smart filly, and that’s half the battle right there.

“I’ve been racing her from off the pace, because that’s the way the races have been coming up for her, but I’m sure I could use her early if I had to and she would be just as good. Last time it just worked out for me to sit in with her and then she gave me a real nice finish.”

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